Call it The Week The Women Went when Erica came on. Despite a massive promotional campaign, a new night didn't add any bounce to Being Erica. The CBC fantasy/drama drew 531,000 last night, it's smallest audience yet (according to BBM/NMR overnight estimates). Worse, only 194,000 of those viewers were in the 25-54-year-old demo.
CBC made the move to take advantage of a stronger lead-in: The Week The Women Went. The reality series, which topped a million two weeks ago, was not quite as robust as usual last night, drawing 716,000, but that is still two to three times the audience for Erica's done like dinner Monday night lead-in, Sophie.
Shifting Erica out of Monday's highly competitive slot was also supposed to get it away from big draws like Two and a Half Men, The Bachelor and 24. Instead, it had to fight for attention last night against CTV's mighty American Idol (2,249,000). CTV went on to own Wednesday with CSI: New York at 10 (1,902,000 total CTV viewers)
Erica's total is also well off the 736,000 who watched the Fifth Estate in that same CBC time slot one week earlier. Estate actually did better than Women Went last week.
It wasn't like CBC didn't promote the switch to a new night. Erica`s move to Wednesday was better promoted than Obama`s economic recovery plan. The episode seemed especially geared to Erica's core audience of young women, with scenes of dudes stripped to the waist and even an ass shot ramping up the sex appeal. There was plenty of drama last night, too, with Erica (Erin Karpluk) sweating over whether or not to spill the beans to her sister that the guy she was about to wed was a no-good cad.
Unfortunately, the episode was more than half over before Erica jumped back in time to wreck her sister's wedding. Getting to the "trick" is taking too long on this show, which, I'll say it again, is a half hour too long.
It's not like there was a ton of competition last night on Global. Life (that's still on?) drew just 467,000, although it beat Erica in the demo (239,000). Lie to Me at 8 scored 501,000, honest.
The other fallout from the Erica move was reflected in last night's lower numbers for The National, which drew 716,000 viewers. Last week, following the more compatible Fifth Estate, it was up over a million.
It is the middle of February, and CBC must have their Erica renewal release typed and ready to drop. But a lower score with Erica's replacement Just for Laughs Monday at 9, a lower score with Erica Wednesday at 9 and lower news numbers has to have CBC execs scratching their heads. One week does not a season make and any time you move a show, you risk shedding viewers, but where is that young female audience that Erica seemed so poised to deliver? Wasn't this the show promoted (before it even aired once) as the show everyone was talking about?